CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich congratulated the Lemont Little League Baseball Team on their remarkable season this year and proclaimed today “Lemont Little League Day.” Lemont won the Great Lakes Championship and went on to compete in the U.S. Semifinals of the Little League World Series. The last Illinois little league team to make it to the Little League World Series was South Holland in 1992, and Lemont is only the 14th team from Illinois in the tournament since it began in 1947.
“These young men have made everybody in Illinois proud. I want to congratulate Lemont for their amazing run in this year’s Little League World Series. After losing the first two games of the Great Lakes Region tournament, they rallied to win four consecutive games, captured the Great Lakes Championship and competed among seven other Americans teams for the World Series Championship,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
The Lemont Little League Baseball Team was led by manager Mike Hall and coaches Dave Rimkus and Bob Soria. The Governor’s Executive Proclamation commends them and their players: Josh Ferry, Michael Hall, David Hearne, Andrew Hoffmeister, Marty Joyce, Michael Kamp, Dane Kempke, Zak Kutsulis, Austin Mastela, David Rimkus, Zack Soria, Chris Stoeberl, and Jeff Worsech.
Lemont lost the first game of the Little League World Series to a team from Arizona, but thanks to the deft performance by David Hearne, who pitched a one-hit shutout, they won the next game 1-0 over the team from New York. Lemont also won their third game against a team from Georgia. In that game, Brian Ferry pitched a second consecutive one-hitter, struck out 13 batters, and led his team to a 2-0 victory.
That win advanced the team to the U.S. Semifinals match up with the team from Oregon. Although they had the winning run in scoring position in the bottom of the last inning, Lemont could not pull out the victory and lost by a score of 4-3.
In addition to amazing pitching during the season, the team had a strong defense to back them up. Balanced from top to bottom at the plate and in the field, the team liked to pressure opposing defenses into mistakes with aggressive baserunning.
The text of the Governor’s Proclamation follows:
WHEREAS, the 2006 Little League Team from Lemont, Illinois had a remarkable 2006 season. After defeating Mundelein National to earn the Illinois State Championship, they lost the first two games of the Great Lakes Region tournament, but rallied to win four games in a row to win the Great Lakes Championship and earn a spot as one of only 8 American teams to compete in the 2006 Little League World Series; and
WHEREAS, game one of the Little League World Series for Lemont ended in defeat at the hands of Arizona, but they bounced back the very next day in a 1-0 victory over New York. The win was characterized by an outstanding one-hit shutout performance by pitcher David Hearne; and
WHEREAS, in game three, Lemont matched up against the team from Columbus, Georgia, and pitching was again the highlight. Pitcher Brian Ferry tossed Lemont’s second consecutive one-hitter, struck out 13 batters, and led his team to victory by a score of 2-0. That win advanced the team to the U.S. Semifinals; and
WHEREAS, the Lemont team once again played skillfully in game one of the Semifinals, fighting hard to the very end with the winning run in scoring position in the bottom of the sixth inning, but the game ended in defeat to Beaverton, Oregon by a score of 4-3. Despite their elimination from the tournament, the Lemont Little League team made an amazing run at the title, and became the first Illinois team since 1992 to make it to the Little League World Series; and
WHEREAS, Illinois is proud of the Lemont Little League team for their outstanding play, and delighted that they are a part of this state’s rich tradition of excellence in sporting and athletics. We commend players Josh Ferry, Michael Hall, David Hearne, Andrew Hoffmeister, Marty Joyce, Michael Kamp, Dane Kempke, Zak Kutsulis, Austin Mastela, David Rimkus, Zack Soria, Chris Stoeberl, and Jeff Worsech, along with manager Mike Hall and coaches Dave Rimkus and Bob Soria for their amazing accomplishments in this 2006 Little League Season:
THEREFORE, I, Rod R. Blagojevich, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim August 25, 2006 as LEMONT LITTLE LEAGUE DAY in Illinois, in recognition of their stellar, title-contending season.
No Illinois team has won the Little League World Series in the 46-year history of the event, and only three— North Roseland most recently in 1967—have played in the championship game.